Sunday, May 01, 2016

Iraq in Turmoil

Iraq in Turmoil

by Stephen Lendman

Public anger over unchecked corruption while popular needs go begging may be the undoing of Washington’s puppet regime.

On Saturday, thousands breached the heavily fortified Green Zone. Hundreds entered parliament. Protesters want revolutionary change, current ministers replaced with new ones, no action so far taken.

One protester likely spoke for others, shouting “(y)ou are not staying here. This is your last day in the Green Zone.”

Another said “(w)e are fed up. We are living a humiliated life. We’ll leave here only when the corrupt government is replaced with another of independent technocrats that serve the people, not the political parties.”

Late Saturday, protesters reportedly left parliament, began a sit-in at Ihtifalat Square inside the Green Zone.

They were mostly peaceful. A celebratory atmosphere prevailed - waving Iraqi flags, jumping and dancing on parliament meeting tables and chairs.

Minor damage to state property was reported. Hours later, Abadi issued a statement, claiming conditions in Baghdad were “under the control of the security forces.”

Parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi called corrupt MPs “representatives of the people and their servants,” a shameless perversion of truth.

Abadi ludicrously ordered security forces to arrest and prosecute protesters responsible for threatening the safety of lawmakers and damaging state property.

Influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr blasted parliamentarians for “refus(ing) to end corruption and end quotas,” adding he and his supporters won’t participate in “any political process in which there are any type…of political party quotas” filling ministerial and other regime positions.

Middle East analyst Zaid al-Ali MPs and Abadi’s regime aren’t capable of reforming. “They will always defend privilege.” What happened Saturday “was entirely predictable.”

On Thursday, Joe Biden visited Baghdad, a fool’s mission to support Washington’s puppet regime, maintain the phony pretext of combating ISIS while attempting to calm political unrest - exploding when he left.

Before his arrival, a senior administration official called his visit a “symbol of how much faith (Washington) ha(s) in prime minister Abadi” - illegitimately appointed, widely despised.

Former US military planner in Baghdad Doug Ollivant said hopes for Abadi surviving the political crisis faded. His regime “as it’s currently structured can’t hold.”

If he falls, Washington will install another puppet to replace him. The only required qualifications are serving US interests, maintaining order and subduing public unrest successfully.

It’s been ongoing intermittently for nearly a year. On Saturday, it boiled over - the legacy of America’s imperial ruthlessness.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

US-Supported Terrorist Atrocities in Syria

US-Supported Terrorist Atrocities in Syria

by Stephen Lendman

They’re committed daily in various parts of Syria, especially in northern areas near Turkey’s border and suburban Damascus.

Scoundrel media headlines scream Russian and Syrian airstrikes continuing during (fantasy) cessation of hostilities  and (farcical) peace talks - on life support, breathing hard, effectively dead.

The London-based, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, publishes regular pro-Western press releases, one-sided conflict reports.

It claimed daily Russian and  government bombardment of Aleppo since April 22 killed 250 mostly civilians, ended ceasefire and caused peace talks to collapse.

Terrorists Washington and its rogue allies call “moderate rebels” are entirely responsible for civilian deaths, targeting residential areas and other nonmilitary sites, murdering noncombatant men, women and children in cold blood, at times with chemical and other banned weapons.

A US warplane destroyed the Doctors Without Borders Aleppo hospital. Russia and Syria were wrongfully blamed.

Heavy area fighting continues. State Department spokesman admiral John Kirby said John Kerry wants Russia to pressure Assad to stop what he called “indiscriminate aerial attacks” in Aleppo.

Russian and Syrian warplanes conduct precision strikes solely against terrorist targets. 

On Saturday, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Moscow won’t pressure (Damascus) because” the battle for Aleppo is about combating terrorism - authorized under Security Council Res. 2254.

Moscow wants known terrorist groups Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar ash-Sham added to the Security Council list.

Assad rightfully considers all armed groups killing Syrian nationals terrorist groups. They’re imported US-supported death squads, what media scoundrels never explain - blaming government and Russian forces for their crimes.

Liberating Syria requires eliminating them, defeating the scourge America created.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Remembering Daniel Berrigan


Remembering Daniel Berrigan

by Stephen Lendman

On April 30, famed Jesuit priest, poet, anti-war activist Daniel Joseph Berrigan died days short of his 95th birthday.

He taught theology at the Jesuit Brooklyn Preparatory School. Later was Professor of New Testament studies at Le Moyne College, taught theology at Cornell and Fordham universities.

Best known for his anti-war activism, he co-founded an interfaith coalition against the Vietnam War with his brother Philip and Thomas Merton.

They campaigned passionately for its end. In 1967, he and Philip were arrested for pouring blood on draft records. Philip was sentenced to six years in prison for defacing government property.

In 1968, Daniel and Howard Zinn traveled to Hanoi during the January Tet Offensive to bring home three released US POWs.

In 1968, he, Philip and seven other priests (known as the Catonville Nine) burned hundreds of draft files with homemade napalm in the Catonville, MD draft board parking lot.

At the time, he said “(o)ur apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children.”

“How many must die before our voices are heard? How many must be tortured, dislocated, starved, maddened? When, at what point, will you say no to this war?”

The same year, he signed the Writers and Editors War Tax Protest pledge, refusing to pay taxes to finance US Southeast Asia aggression.

He was sentenced to three years in prison, remained a fugitive for four months before FBI agents arrested him at writer William Stringfellow’s home.

In September 1980, over five years after the Vietnam War ended, he, Philip and six other protesters (the Plowshares Eight) entered the GE King of Prussia, PA nuclear missile facility - damaged warhead nose cones and poured blood on documents and files.

Charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors, they appealed for years, were re-sentenced and paroled in April 1990 in consideration for nearly two years of time imprisoned.

Berrigan remained passionately anti-war until his death. He opposed US intervention in Central America in the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf War, the rape of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and post-9/11 US naked aggression.

At age 92, he participated in the Occupy Wall Street campaign in New York’s Zuccotti Park. Philip died in 2002. Both brothers were two of America’s most courageous voices for peace and justice for all. 

Asked what inscription he preferred for his gravestone, Daniel responded: “It was never dull. Alleluia.”

Separately he once said “(y)ou have to do what you know is right.” He died like he lived, passionate for his beliefs to the end.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Sunday is May Day


Sunday Is May Day

by Stephen Lendman

Labor and social justice advocates commemorate International Workers Day on May 1 - called May Day, more symbolic than meaningful.

Since the 1880s in America and Canada, Labor Day is a national holiday on the first Monday in September. It once had meaning, now pointless in nations beholden solely to wealth and power interests - worker rights lost and ignored.

Years of organizing, taking to the streets, going on strike, holding boycotts, battling police, as well as paying with blood and lives won real gains - now gone. 

Bargaining collectively with management on equal terms no longer exists. Grassroots energy waned. Corrupted union bosses and politicians sold out to management for personal gain.

Neoliberal harshness destroyed social justice. Popular needs go begging. Inequality is institutionalized - things on a fast track toward ruler-serf societies in Western countries, a criminal class running them for its own self-interest, enforcing tyranny against resisters.

May Day’s roots lie in Chicago. The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions chose May 1, 1886 to strike. At issue was an eight-hour work day. 

National rallies were held. Around half a million participated. Chicago was its epicenter. Tens of thousands turned out.  

Two days later, police responded violently. Unarmed strikers were attacked. Six died. 

On May 4, the landmark Haymarket Square protest followed. Eight organizers led it - Albert Parsons, August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Eugene Schwab, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Louis Ling and Oscar Neebe. 

A bomb was thrown, perhaps a false flag. Police opened fire indiscriminately. Deaths and injuries resulted. Organizers were called anarchists. Seven were charged. Unjust convictions followed. 

Four were executed for murders they didn't commit. Another committed suicide. An international campaign won commuted sentences for two others. Three still alive were eventually freed. 

What became known as the Haymarket massacre resonated globally. At its founding 1889 congress, the Second (Socialist) International chose May 1 as a worker solidarity international day. 

Issues broadened to include better working conditions, improved living standards, international solidarity, as well as opposition to militarism and war. 

The Chicago-based Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a shadow of its former self. Earlier it said “Labor Day has completely lost its class character.” 

“The very fact that ‘Labor Day’ was legally, formally and officially established by the capitalist class itself, through its organized government, took the ‘starch’ out of it: destroyed its class character.”

"The first of May has not been disgraced, contaminated and blasphemed by capital's official sanction and approval, as has Labor Day. The capitalist class can never be a friend of May Day; it will ever be its enemy.”

Commemorations accomplish nothing. Activism requires full-time commitment. Oligarchs are today’s Robber Barons, colluding with corrupt politicians, assuring few benefit at the expense of most others.

America more resembles Guatemala than the land of the free and home of the brave - a thirdworldized banana republic, a democracy in name only, a police state on a fast track toward full-blown tyranny.

Confronting its ruling class responsibly is the only way to change things. Elections are a waste of time.

Words engraved on Chicago’s Haymarket Monument read: “The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today.”

Haymarket protesters died as martyrs. Reviving their spirit is vital at a time America and other Western societies are unfit to live in - rights of ordinary people lost, tyranny replacing them.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Vote None of the Above in November

Vote None of the Above in November

by Stephen Lendman

US elections are farcical, democracy pure illusion, voters deceived every time. Names and faces alone change. Deplorable policies remain in place.

Democrat and Republican nomination races are virtually over except for postmortems - Clinton and Trump too far ahead to be overtaken.

Polls show they’re ahead in most upcoming primaries, including California. Voter choices in November come down to death by hanging or firing squad.

America’s money-controlled process assures dirty business as usual always wins. All duopoly party aspirants march to the same drummer, differing in style and rhetoric alone.

Voter choices in November are none of the above - independents like true populist Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein ignored by media scoundrels, excluded from so-called debates, relegated to obscurity.

She calls populist in name only Sanders “a loyal man of America’s global empire.” A previous article explained she, like 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, genuinely supports:

  • world peace and disarmament;

  • democratic values;

  • the inviolability of international law principles;

  • universal healthcare free from industry predators;

  • living wages for workers;

  • green, clean energy;

  • popular interests over corporate ones;

  • electoral reform eliminating today’s Big Money-controlled process;

  • uncompromising social justice; and

  • overall real revolutionary change - why she’s banned from presidential debates, not even allowed in the same venue where they’re held.
Her position on US policy toward Israel/Palestine demands strict adherence to “international law, peace and human rights for all people, no matter their religion or nationality.”

“While (Washington) sometimes voices support for this principle in name,” it consistently violates what it claims to endorse, one-sidedly backing Israel at the expense of denying long-suffering Palestinians justice they deserve.

“There is no peace or justice or democracy at the end of such a path. We must
reset US policy regarding Israel and Palestine, as part of a broader revision of US
policy towards the Middle East,” Stein stresses.

Media scoundrels ignore her, exclusively support wealth, power and privilege. Sanders is part of the corrupted Democrat party wing of America’s duopoly power system, a populist in name only.

He wants supporters to believe after 30 years of mostly being on the wrong side of what he now claims to oppose, he reinvented himself at age 74 as a man of the people he never was and isn’t now.

Imperial wars and neoliberal harshness dominate US politics. Neocons exert enormous influence.

Obama matched Star Trek throughout his tenure, going where no administration went before. Expect his successor to exceed the worst of his policies.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

America's Rape of Iraq

America’s Rape of Iraq

by Stephen Lendman

Complicit with Israel, America’s plan to redraw the Middle East map bears full responsibility for raping and destroying Iraq.

From September 1980 to the present, Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama committed the highest of high crimes against peace. 

Millions of Iraqis perished from war, conflict related violence, preventable diseases, starvation, overall deprivation and US-sponsored terrorism. 

Millions today endure unspeakable misery - living in an endless war zone, security and stability entirely absent.

Puppet governance runs things, serving its US master, officials enriching themselves through massive corruption, ignoring humanitarian crisis conditions affecting millions of impoverished, unemployed and internally displaced Iraqis.

Protests demanding reform raged intermittently in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities since July 2015. They escalated in mid-March over parliament’s failure to act, ebbed after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proposed new cabinet members, intensified when legislators rejected his choices.

When political insiders were then chosen, violent protests followed, voting on Abadi’s ministers postponed three times.

On Saturday, things came to a head. After lawmakers again failed to vote on government reforms, thousands took to the streets of Baghdad.

Hundreds stormed the heavily fortified, four-square-mile, fortress-like Green Zone - home to Iraq’s parliament and foreign embassies.

Some made it into the parliament building. MPs fled for safety. Embassy compounds were in lockdown. Reuters said hundreds of protesters “stormed into Baghdad’s Green Zone and entered parliament” after legislators “fail(ed) to reform a political quota system blamed for rampant corruption.”

They chanted “(t)he cowards ran away,” referring to lawmakers leaving the premises. No curfew was imposed. No clashes with security forces were reported.

Heavily armed security forces were deployed around sensitive sites. Entrances to Baghdad were shut. Earlier in the day, a car bomb killed 18 and wounded dozens more in suburban Nahrawan.

Reuters called Saturday’s Green Zone breach “unprecedented,” a heavily protected fortress, “symbolizing the isolation of Iraq’s leadership” and its US master from long-suffering people.

Thousands protested nonviolently. Shia clerical leader Moqtada al-Sadr threatened to bring down the entire government.

In a televised speech from Najaf, he announced a two-month withdrawal from public life while “waiting for the great popular uprising and the major revolution to stop the march of the corrupt.”

“If the nation lets me, I can end the current government and form a new one without any corruption,” he added.

So far things are largely nonviolent. They could explode any time if public sentiment is ignored.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Palestinians Protecting Islam's Third Holiest Site Risk Imprisonment

Palestinians Protecting Islam’s Third Holiest Site Risk Imprisonment

by Stephen Lendman

Israel kidnaps and brutalizes Palestinians for any reason or none at all. Multiple community intrusions occur daily - families terrorized, children traumatized. 

On April 14, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said soldiers abducted 16 Palestinians, aged 45 - 70, after violently raiding their homes pre-dawn.

On April 29, seven were indicted for “joining a hostile organization.” Sa’adi Rajabi, Anwar al-Qaaq, ‘Adli Abu Ermeila, Mohammad Taher Arafa, Jamal Natsha and Khader Abu Sneina face criminal prosecution for protecting Islam’s third holiest site. 

Israel calls it incitement, charging the men for involvement with Murabitun - outlawed last year for protecting Al-Aqsa, demonstrating against increasing Israeli intrusions and attempted control over Islam’s third holiest site.

Extremist Jews want it for a third Jewish temple. They want prohibition against non-Muslim prayer lifted.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s office shamelessly called banning the group along with its female Murabitat counterpart necessary “to defend the security of the state, the well-being of the public and public order.”

It called both groups “a main factor in creating tension and violence” at the site, ignoring Israel’s full responsibility.

“They engage in incite(ment) and dangerous activity against tourists, visitors and worshipers at the site, which leads to violence…striving to undermine Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount,” Ya’alon’s office said, adding:

“They are linked to, and frequently guided by, hostile Islamic organizations.” Islamic Endowments in Jerusalem director Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib called Israel’s decision “totally unacceptable.”

“The occupation regime has no right to intervene in Al-Aqsa’s matters,” he said. “Any Muslim who enters Al-Aqsa mosque and prays is a protector of the mosque. Nobody has a right to prevent a Muslim from entering their holy site and praying.”

Anyone involved with either group risks arrest, prosecution and imprisonment. Israeli soldiers provocatively let extremist Jews storm Al Aqsa, at times responsible for instigating clashes.

Israel considers protecting Islam’s third holiest site a criminal offense.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Pentagon Whitewashes Mass Murder


Pentagon Whitewashes Mass Murder

by Stephen Lendman

America considers civilians legitimate targets in all its wars of aggression. Fundamental laws of war prohibit attacking them - ignored in all US combat operations.

CENTCOM lied, calling its October 3, 2015 bombing of the Kunduz, Afghanistan Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital a “tragic incident.”

It turned truth on its head, claiming “personnel involved did not know that they were striking a medical facility. The intended target was an insurgent-controlled site which was approximately 400 meters away…”

CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel willfully lied, claiming US forces “had no idea” they were attacking a medical facility.

False! CENTCOM knew it was an MSF hospital, yet ordered the attack anyway, falsely claiming it was used as a Taliban command and control center - before acknowledging otherwise. 

Dozens of doctors, other medical staff and patients were massacred in cold blood, many others injured, victims of US imperial viciousness.

MSF provided CENTCOM and Afghan authorities with precise hospital coordinates several times. While under attack, it informed their authorities about what was happening, the facility struck multiples times for over an hour with precision weapons - a war crime by any standard.

MSF called the attack an “abhorrent and a grave violation of international humanitarian law. (A) war crime (was) committed.”

The Pentagon denied MSF’s demand for an independent investigation into what happened - conducted its own to whitewash mass murder.

CENTCOM’s report acknowledged violations of rules of engagement and laws of war breaches, while at the same time denying culpability for an indisputable high crime.

Votel said more than a dozen US servicemen were disciplined for what happened, meaningless wrist slaps at most. None face criminal charges for deliberate mass murder. Coverup and denial reflect longstanding Pentagon practice.

CENTCOM’s commander willfully lied, saying “(t)he investigation found that the incident resulted from a combination of unintentional human errors, process errors and equipment failures, and that none of the personnel knew they were striking a hospital.” 

“The trauma center was a protected facility but it was misidentified during this engagement.” It was on a “no strike” list, its precise location known, yet willfully attacked anyway without just cause.

In response to CENTCOM’s whitewash, MSF’s Meinie Nicolai called Votel’s briefing “an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely populated urban area.”

“It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the US, the attack was not called off.”

“The threshold that must be crossed for this deadly incident to amount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law is not whether it was intentional or not.”

“(A)rmed groups cannot escape their responsibilities on the battlefield simply by ruling out the intent to attack a protected structure such as a hospital.”

“(V)ictims and their families have neither the option to pursue legal action (for justice) nor claim compensation for loss of life and livelihood.”

America commits war crimes with impunity in all its theaters of conflict. US warplanes destroyed or damaged several Syrian and Iraqi hospitals along with numerous nonmilitary related sites, these actions continuing on a regular basis.  

Pentagon coverup and denial doesn’t wash. Repeated high crimes go unpunished - naked aggression without mercy most of all, attacking nonbelligerent nations threatening no one, raping and destroying them, the highest of high crimes.

NYT editors disgracefully called mass murdering and injuring dozens of MSF doctors, medical staff and patients a mistake, a catastrophe, “gross negligence,” and war zone blunder - failing to condemn a willful war crime and demand full accountability.

They ludicrously cited Pentagon officials claiming “they acted promptly to retrain all troops in Afghanistan about the rules for using deadly force and…have taken precautions” to avoid repeat incidents.

They continue on a regular basis in all US war theaters. Mass civilian casualties don’t matter, considered a small price to pay to advance America’s imperium - an agenda the NYT wholeheartedly endorses.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

US Behind New Coup Plot in Venezuela


US Behind New Coup Plot in Venezuela

by Stephen Lendman

Since Hugo Chavez’s December 1998 election, Washington plotted to regain control over Venezuela and its vast oil reserves.

Two anti-Chavista coup plots failed, another against current President Nicolas Maduro foiled. US economic war facilitated fascists gaining control of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

Washington’s dirty hands are involved in helping their latest attempt to oust Maduro - wanting neoliberal harshness replacing Bolivarian fairness.

In March, the anti-Chavista Movement of Democratic Unity (MUD) published its Roadmap for Change. MUD executive secretary Jesus Torealba “call(ed) on the entire Venezuelan people…to force Maduro to resign…”

The plot involves constitutionally reducing presidential terms from six to four years, rewriting Venezuela’s Bolivarian constitution, mobilizing street protests and ousting Maduro by recall referendum.

Obama’s 2015 executive order shamelessly declared Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national and foreign policy of the United States,” a perversion of reality.

The 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) permits the regulation of commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to an alleged threat to America by a foreign state.

In March 2015, Obama invoked it against Venezuela, imposing sanctions illegally. No nation may impose them against others, only Security Council members. 

Maduro blasted the move as aggressive, saying “(u)nlike the US, we have never killed innocent children nor bombed hospitals.”

Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled reducing presidential terms to four years won’t apply retroactively to Maduro if enacted by constitutional amendment.

Article 24 of the Bolivarian Constitution prohibits retroactivity, High Court justices saying “(t)o accept (it) would constitute an unquestionable violation of the exercise of sovereignty in Article 5 of the Magna Carta, since it would amount to a rejection of the will of the people.”

MUD efforts to oust Maduro by recall referendum are underway. Article 72 of Venezuela's Constitution states “(a)ll magistrates and other offices (including the president) filled by popular vote are subject to revocation.” c

“Once half (their) term of office...has elapsed, 20% of (registered) voters (by petition may call for) a referendum to revoke such official’s mandate.” 

“When a number of voters equal to or greater than the number of those who elected the official vote in favor of revocation (provided the total is 20% or more of registered voters), the official’s mandate shall be deemed revoked…”

So far, 1.5 million signatures were collected, well above the 1% of the electorate in every state needed to call for a national referendum. 

Once Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) verifies the authenticity of signatures collected, MUD will have 72 hours to get 20% of the electorate (over four million required) to sign a petition supporting a recall referendum.

If enough signatures are verified, one will be organized within 90 days. Removing Maduro requires support from more than the 50.6% of voters supporting his 2013 election.

The failed 2004 recall process against Chavez took seven months. The current attempt to oust Maduro could continue through yearend.

Given dire economic conditions, his future and Bolivarianism’s fate remain up for grabs.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

China Denies US Carrier Group Hong Kong Port Call

China Denies US Carrier Group Hong Kong Port Call

Stephen Lendman

US/Sino tensions remain high. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs chairman Joseph (“fighting Joe”) Dunford provocatively call China and Russia America’s leading threats, along with Iran, North Korea and terrorism.

On Friday, America’s Hong Kong consulate said Beijing denied permission for the USS John C. Stennis and four accompanying vessels to make a Hong Kong port call, beginning on May 3 for five days.

China’s Foreign Ministry said it “needs to approve every ship coming to Hong Kong on a case by case basis in accordance with sovereignty principles and specific circumstances.”

On April 15, Defense Secretary Carter visited the USS John C. Stennis, DOD ludicrously calling the warship “a symbol of American commitment to peace and security in Southeast Asia.”

Carter said at the time, “the United States intends to continue to play a role out here that it has for seven decades…” During a preceding Manila visit, he said America supports the Philippines and other regional allies in the face of “coercion and intimidation.”

Washington claims dominion over parts of the world not its own, advancing its military footprint provocatively, risking direct confrontation with China and Russia.

Beijing remains justifiably concerned about its attempt to militarize the South China Sea, flying patrols and conducting military exercises close to its waters and territory.

Earlier its Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said Beijing “is extremely concerned at the United States’ pushing of the militarization of the South China Sea region.”

“What they are doing can't help but make people wonder whether they want nothing better than chaos” or direct confrontation.

In 2007, Beijing denied the USS Kitty Hawk’s Hong Kong port call request after the Bush administration announced an advance missile sale to Taiwan and welcomed the Dalai Lama (a longtime CIA asset) at the White House.

The USS Stennis carrier group is currently operating in South China Sea waters provocatively close to Beijing claimed sovereign areas. The Pentagon asserts the phony pretext of “freedom of navigation.” 

Beijing accuses Washington of regional interference and “sabotaging regional peace” - in response to its announced military buildup in the Philippines, a provocative move, one of many risking direct confrontation.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Russia and America are Adversaries, Not Partners

Russia and America Are Adversaries, Not Partners

by Stephen Lendman

Agreements Russia and other nations make with America are fraught with hazards. Sordid US history shows it flagrantly breaches deals repeatedly.

Washington can’t be trusted. It doesn’t negotiate in good faith. Duplicity is longstanding policy, peace anathema to advancing its imperium.

Russian officials calling their US counterparts partners is oxymoronic on its face. Longstanding relations between both countries are adversarial. Top US officials and Pentagon commanders call Moscow America’s leading threat. Evidence shows otherwise.

Numerous previous articles explained in detail. Putin and Obama are geopolitical opposites - the world’s preeminent peacemaker v. its leading aggressor, agendas of both governments antithetical to the other.

Putin promotes mutual cooperation among all nations. Obama demands all countries obey its rules. It wants all independent governments transformed into US vassal states.

When both countries conclude agreements, Russia’s word is its bond, America’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

A so-called “regime of silence” both countries agreed to in Syria’s Latakia province for 72 hours may prove meaningless as cessation of hostilities and farcical peace talks.

It calls for both sides to cease hostilities for three days - unlikely with US-backed terrorists continuing them against civilian and government targets.

It’s wishful thinking to expect terrorists to turn over a new leaf even short-term. Since cessation of hostilities began at midnight February 26, multiple daily violations occurred - with full US support and encouragement.

America wants war, not peace. Ceasefire is anathema to its agenda. Endless conflicts and turbulence serve it.

Syria’s military said it’ll observe the silence period in Latakia’s northern countryside for 72 hours and Ghouta, east of Damascus, for a 24-hour period.

Fighting will continue raging in Aleppo province and other areas controlled by, infested with, or attacked US-backed terrorists.

A drop of “silence” in an ocean of war accomplishes little. If warring sides maintain “silence” for one to three days, nothing suggests hostilities won’t resume like before when it ends.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Former Speaker Boehner Blasts Cruz

Former Speaker Boehner Blasts Cruz

by Stephen Lendman 

John Boehner minced no words, calling Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh,” adding “I have never worked with a more miserable son-of-a-bitch in my life.”

Trump sounds almost mild, calling him “lying Ted…a hypocrite…a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him.”

A previous article called him the most despised US senator - arrogant, abrasive, mean-spirited, insufferable and obnoxious, antagonizing friends and foes.

His combative style creates enemies. He calls fellow Republicans fake conservatives. Boehner silently blasted him earlier by raising his middle finger, expressing anger and disgust.

No senator in memory created more enemies on both sides of the isle. Imagine how world leaders would react to a Cruz presidency. How do you say “son-of-a-bitch” in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic etc?

Boehner said he’ll support Trump if nominated, not Cruz. Earlier he backed Jeb Bush, endorsed John Kasich when he dropped out.

“If we don’t have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I’m for none of the above,” he also said, adding “I’m for Paul Ryan to be our nominee,” current House speaker.

Asked about the former speaker’s criticism, Cruz said he let “his inner Trump come out. (He represents) everything wrong and corrupt in Washington.”

Last summer, Boehner called Cruz a “jackass.” On CBS News’ Face the Nation, he said he’s a “false prophet.”

Cruz and tea party neocons helped end Boehner’s tenure as speaker and longtime congressional member (1991 - 2015), nearly five years in one of the nation’s most influential posts.

Former Boehner spokesman David Schnittger said “he generally says what he thinks…and being out of office (hasn’t made him) less inclined to be that way.”

He ridiculed Hillary Clinton, saying “(o)h, I’m a woman. Vote for me.” He called his “proudest accomplishment…walking out of there the same jackass I was 25 years before.”

On Thursday, Cruz tweeted: “Tell me again who will stand up to Washington? Trump, who’s Boehner’s ‘texting and golfing buddy,’ or Carly & me?

America’s money-controlled political system gives voters no acceptable choices. Names and faces change. Everything stays the same.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Obama's Economic Legacy: Thirdworldizing America

Obama’s Economic Legacy: Thirdworldizing America

by Stephen Lendman

The New York Times colluded with Obama, presenting the illusion of economic recovery, twisting reality, ignoring cold hard facts.

Interviewed by its financial columnist Andrew Sorkin, a false picture of his economic record was presented.

America’s 1% never had things better. Protracted Main Street Depression conditions affect most others. 

One out of four working-age Americans have no jobs. Most others lucky to have work are underemployed - stuck in rotten part-time, low-pay, poor-or-no-benefit temp or part-time positions, one missed paycheck away from homelessness, hunger and desperation.

Economist John Williams says “(e)conomic activity is deteriorating rapidly, not improving.” Q I “GDP growth of 0.5% was absolute nonsense…Meaningful downside revisions loom…”

Housing starts, industrial production, retail sales, and durable goods orders are down. “US economic reality remains (protracted) non-recovery and renewed downturn,” Williams explained.

Economic conditions for ordinary Americans are dismal with no prospect in sight for improvement. Independent historians one day will explain how Obama hastened the nation’s transformation into an oligarch-run kleptocracy, a banana republic.

Inside the bubble, it’s paradise for the privileged few. Outside it’s dystopian hell. Sorkin let Obama get away with repeated lies and distortions, failing to responsibly challenge him responsibly.

“(W)e probably managed (the economic crisis) better than any large economy on earth in modern history,” Obama claimed. Truth is polar opposite.

Recovery never occurred. Crisis conditions remain. Obama’s legacy reflects the worst economic management in US history - enriching the few, harming most others, waging endless wars on humanity, letting Wall Street and war-profiteers benefit hugely.

Trump is right calling America “a third world nation.” Obama claiming the US economy is in much better shape than the public appreciates is belied by growing millions impoverished, Depression-level unemployment, record levels of hunger and homelessness - unreported crisis conditions going unaddressed.

Inequality soared during Obama’s tenure. Wealth redistribution from ordinary Americans to its privileged class remains unprecedented. 

Inflation-adjusted median household income plunged. A 2013 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances explained it declined 12% ($6,400) between 2007 and 2013.

Between 2010 and 2013, it fell 5%. Most Americans believe the nation remains mired in recession for good reason. They’re struggling daily to get by.

Suicides and mortality rates are up, life expectancy lower for the most disadvantaged, social justice fast eroding, on the chopping block for elimination altogether.

Throughout his tenure, Obama did nothing to help growing millions, suffering through America’s second Great Depression.

The true measure of the man and his administration is disgraceful - serving the privileged few exclusively, contemptuous of most others.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. 

The Battle for Aleppo

The Battle for Aleppo

by Stephen Lendman

Western officials and supportive media scoundrels blame attacks on civilian targets in Aleppo and surrounding areas on Syria and Russia. US-backed terrorists bear full responsibility.

The UK government owned, operated and controlled BBC was typical media deception, repeating tired old Big Lies, citing US sources “criticizing Russia’s air campaign for largely striking at Western-backed groups fighting the Syrian government rather than the so-called Islamic State.”

Fact: Syrian and Russian forces are attacking ISIS and other Security Council designated terrorist groups.

Fact: All armed factions waging war on Syria are imported death squads - supported by Washington and its rogue partners.

Fact: They’re willfully attacking civilians with full US backing and encouragement. US special forces and CIA elements on the ground help direct their operations.

On Thursday, a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) statement said the following:

“Fourteen people, including at least two doctors, were killed Wednesday night in the bombing of a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, the medical humanitarian organization said today.”

“According to hospital staff on the ground, the Al Quds hospital in Aleppo was destroyed by at least one airstrike which directly hit the building, reducing it to rubble. Other airstrikes in the neighborhood also hit areas close to the hospital.”

A previous article incorrectly identified the MSF hospital as al-Razi. Syrian media reported it was shelled and badly damaged - killing at least 20, injuring dozens using rockets “stuffed with highly explosive materials.”

Government and Russian warplanes had nothing to do with either attack. Syria’s military called reports otherwise “untrue and aimed at covering the terrorists’ crimes against civilians.”

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashinkov said its “air force has not carried out any flights over the Aleppo region during the latest days.”

Data confirms “that a warplane for one country of the (so-called US-led) coalition flew…in Aleppo skies” on the day the MSF hospital and other civilian targets were attacked.

On Thursday, Sergey Lavrov blasted America’s illegal operations in Syria - ongoing without Security Council or Damascus authorization.

They reflect “the arrogant stance that Syrian President Assad heads an illegitimate regime,” said Lavrov - ignoring his democratic reelection and overwhelming popularity.

Russia is “the only country engaged in anti-terrorism activities in Syria legally,” Lavrov stressed.

Washington wants regime change, perhaps intending an operation similar to Libya, he added. It’s waging naked aggression against a sovereign independent state, using terrorist fighters as imperial foot soldiers.

Separately, Fars News said “Turkey is planning to launch a new invasion against Syria under the pretext of fighting against the ISIL terrorists,” citing Arab media source Al-Quds al-Arabi.

It reported Ankara intending to invade northern Syria “through a region 8km in width and 18km in length,” according to Fars News.

Turkish forces control small Syrian border areas. Erdogan apparently has a greater objective in mind.

In the last 24 hours, Syrian media reported 33 civilian deaths, another 165 injured. An Aleppo Police Command source said nine children and a woman were among those killed.

US-backed terrorists are willfully targeting civilians, killing and wounding them daily. A Syrian military source said thousands of government troops intend a large offensive in days, aiming to “wipe out the militancy in Aleppo province.”

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Israel Murders Pregnant Palestinian Woman Posing No Threat

Israel Murders Pregnant Palestinian Woman Posing No Threat

by Stephen Lendman

Israeli viciousness goes virtually unreported in America, little elsewhere in the West, its high crimes ignored. 

Long-suffering Palestinians don’t matter. They’re persecuted for not being Jews, often victims of cold-blooded murder. 

On Wednesday, Israeli security forces lethally shot 23-year-old pregnant mother Maram Salif Hassan Abu Ismail and her 16-year-old brother Ibrahim.

They threatened no one. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri lied, claiming an attempted stabbing attack was foiled.

Maram and Ibrahim were heading for Jerusalem. They took a path intended for vehicles, not pedestrians. At the Qalandiya checkpoint, they didn’t understand what soldiers were shouting at them in Hebrew.

Ibrahim reached for his sister’s hand. They froze in fear, posed no threat, yet soldiers lethally shot Maram. When Ibrahim tried helping her, he was shot and killed.

An eyewitness said they posed no threat. Other witnesses said soldiers fired repeatedly at them as they lay helpless on the ground.

Eyewitness Ahmad Taha said “(t)here was no stabbing attempt, and no reason for the army to shoot. The soldiers shot them from a distance, and then fired more rounds to confirm the kills.”

They “placed two knives next to the lifeless bodies…shortly after…police published pictures showing three knives.” 

Planting them at the scene of their crimes is commonplace Israeli practice. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said soldiers denied its medical workers access to both victims, letting them bleed to death unattended.

They weren’t carrying knives, nor was Maram wearing an explosive belt as the IDF claimed. Palestinian medical sources said she was five months pregnant.

“Her only fault was walking the wrong route and not understanding Hebrew.” The only thing she “carried” was her fetus.

Ibrahim chose the wrong time to accompany his sister. Most alleged Palestinian stabbing attempts are fabricated.

Media reports invariably say no Israelis were injured. How could so many alleged incidents only harm Palestinians, many resulting in their deaths, yet security forces rarely are harmed.

Draw your own conclusion!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

US-Backed Terrorists Shell Aleppo Hospital - Russia and Syria Blamed


US-Backed Terrorists Shell Aleppo Hospital - Russia and Syria Blamed

by Stephen Lendman

Overnight Wednesday, US-backed terrorists shelled Aleppo’s Doctors Without Borders (MSF) al-Razi hospital and nearby residential areas - killing at least 20, injuring dozens, some critically.

Syrian media reported rocket shells “stuffed with highly explosive materials” caused extensive damage.

A Syrian military source said falsified reports blamed its warplanes and Russia’s for the attacks. US-backed terrorists bore full responsibility.

Three children and six medical staff were among the casualties. The ICRC said escalated fighting worsened the humanitarian situation for tens of thousands of area residents.

Other Aleppo area terrorist attacks in the last 24 hours killed at least 49 civilians. Cessation of hostilities is more myth than reality.

No matter what efforts are made to revive peace talks, they’re effectively dead going nowhere. Pro-Western mediator Staffan de Mistura wants another round begun on May 10.

He urged Russia and America to try “revitali(ing) what they have created and which is still alive but barely.” Both sides are intractably apart. No responsible government would agree to unacceptable US/Saudi-backed opposition demands.

Obama wants war, not peace, deploying hundreds of special forces to northern Syria illegally on the phony pretext of combatting ISIS. US warplanes continue attacking infrastructure and government sites - along with recruiting terrorist fighters and arming them.

Their scourge is one of humanity’s greatest threats. They thrive because of foreign support - from America its creator and rogue allies. 

They can’t survive without it - reality media scoundrels suppress, maintaining the fiction of US-led efforts to combat it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.